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The Challenge of Democratic Consolidation and De-legitimization Politics in South Korea

Can anyone say that South Korean society and politics have become "transformed" since the 1987 democratic opening and transition? This statement is "admittedly ambitious" as a claim "because an endpoint of transformation can never be attained with certainty," the speaker argues.  After a successful democratic transition, South Korea’s next challenge lies in consolidating its democratic gains and building durable political institutions, requiring full compliance with democratic norms by all major political forces and interest groups in civil society. This on-going quest for liberal democracy, not easy for South Korea’s Sixth Republic, will be explored in Professor Kihl's presentation.

Young Whan Kihl is currently a visiting scholar in the Korean Studies Program at APARC. He is Professor of Political Science, Emeritus, at Iowa State University. Professor Kihl taught courses on International Relations, Comparative Politics, Comparative Political Behavior, and Comparative Foreign Policy at Iowa State University, 1974-2006, and served as Chair of the Department of Political Science, Juniata College, 1963-1974.  He was editor-in-chief of The International Journal of Korean Studies from 2004 to 2008 and was on the editorial advisory board of International Studies Quarterly from 1998 to 2004.  He has written numerous books on Korean politics, both North and South. Included in the list of his recent books are: North Korea: the Politics of Regime Survival, 2006 (coeditor) and Transforming Korean Politics: Democracy, Reform, and Culture, 2005.

Professor Kihl received a BA in Political Science and Economics from Grinnell College and a Ph.D. in International Politics and Organizations, Comparative Politics (Asia), and Political Behavior from New York University.